User Reviews (9)

Add a Review

  • I had the privilege of checking out this movie at the Beverly Hills Film & TV Festival and was pleasantly surprised by how good this low budget Indy was. Being in LA a lot, I get a chance to go to a fair amount of "unknown cinema" and many times I am let down by filmmakers trying to much. "Mad World" was the exact opposite. The film has a very strong message about teen bullying and school shootings yet it somehow managed to be artistic and like a really good after school special all at the same time. I don't want to spoil it, but this film does have some very dark and had to watch scenes, so if you can't take that sort of stuff, stay away, but if you can step back from the horror, I really feel like you find beauty in the very un-beautiful world the filmmakers set up. I laughed at the beginning, though I must admit I thought the flick would be campy, and cried at the end. After the Q & A, I knew that the beginning was there, to make the end feel worse and I loved that and this film. When or if it comes out, A MUST SEE.
  • This is a great film about the difficulties of growing up in a destructive and insensitive society; in other words, it revives all of those old teenage ideas and feelings from your past... I find it absolutely refreshing. As for the "foul language," sometimes you have to see a film twice to realize and understand its dark humor and clever hidden commentaries on society... like many Tarantino films, actually. If the film seems absurd at times... maybe it is actually SUPPOSED to be. In any case, it is a surprisingly insightful film, with surprisingly fantastic performances. I highly recommend it! And a great debut film from a director and writer I hope to see more from in the future...
  • movies423 March 2006
    I saw an unfinished cut of this movie and in general I like the concept. The foul language was something that they could have used less. I felt the characters could show their emotions more through actions than their words. Although, at times, maybe the foul language was appropriate. The four main characters of this movie are people that everyone has met at one point in their lives and could relate to completely. Whether you like these characters or not, there is a time that you do feel for them as human beings. There are a couple of scenes that are disturbing and may not be something everyone could watch but the scenes are truly powerful. I'm interested to see the finished product. In general, this movie has potential to be really good.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    In the beginning, one is not sure what to make of this film but it touched on several issues that need to be addressed--and most of it came through the verbiage of Will (Dylan Vigus) and Cory (Gary Cairns). While Will is the one telling the story, it is Cory that best expresses what is going on in the mind of a tortured young man in a school where, as it often occurs, faculty completely ignores the issues of bullying and doesn't even see (or chooses not to see) the signs of a child who is abused at home.

    The character of Jevon (James Lee Martinec) is symbolic of the abused child who fell through the cracks of a failed system that is supposedly designed to protect our children--and often does not. I can relate to this character, but not for what is depicted in the film. I myself had a step mother who loved pointing a pistol at my head and tearing me down psychologically. At other times, she tossed me into walls, cabinets or whatever struck her fancy. Any other abuse I endured was not at the hands of my parents. That is all I will say there, but as I said earlier, if someone who has lived in a situation where they are abused in both environments (home and school) it might be a bit much to watch, so one might want to keep this in mind prior to viewing it.

    I grew up in a time where it was one thing to wish the bullies were dead but it was taboo to act on it...The characters in this film were not consumed by video games and such as the far right would like to think. They were consumed by a society that threw them to the gutter and didn't care--and that is how many bullied children perceive the school environment in this day and age--especially when they are going through crap at home.

    This writer merely put all the thoughts, the pain and the horrible things that run through the minds of broken souls and put it on celluloid and for that he is to be commended. Cory Cataldo did a great job of that. Now was that sex scene a bit much? Yes. You will know which one when you watch it. There was more than one scene.

    Each character was a piece of a puzzle that fit into a whole. You had Cory--who was actually a very intelligent young man and articulate. You had Jevon who was a resident genius and (like myself) viewed school as a refuge--even though he didn't quite fit in...Because he made the school "look good" they took an interest in HIM but then threw him to the wolves when he didn't measure up to what the school's standard of perfection was. This DOES happen a lot.

    Then there is Will. His father is an all around jerk and abuses him daily. Will is also articulate, intelligent and fell through the cracks. He also brings some of the humor to the film (along with Cory). Then you have John (Matthew Thompson) which brings another dimension to the film. He is an African American student raised by white, adoptive parents. This character suffered the effects of racism and violence in such a way that he felt he had no other options open to him. His monologue after the worst assault he endures will leave you in tears. It is riveting.

    The ones playing teachers and administrators were a joke (and there are people like this in real life who dismiss the bullying as 'kids being kids'). These are the types that will sweep what the athletes and such do under a carpet but if a student sneezes in the wrong direction that is not part of that social circle, like vultures, they will all kick that student to the curb--which is what these characters did. Fortunately, my teachers and administrators were NOT like this. They cared and I knew it. Times have drastically changed because many do not seem to care about much more than their paychecks now. Sorry but that is true and this movie seems to touch on it.

    This may be a low-budget indie film, but Gary Cairns and the other cast members made it believable--especially to a viewer who lived in a similar situation. I agree with the viewer that felt that the O'Reilly picture was a bit much. There are plenty of bone-headed school administrators in both major parties. Note: Not all people in the south are conservative and not all support the death penalty. This movie could have driven a huge point home to an audience had the political ideology been left completely out.

    I really do not consider this to be a dark comedy as much as an art film. It is beautiful when put in that perspective because it attempts to bring new light to old issues. Cory is the ultimate voice of teen angst, Jevon of the pain of having to remain silent and to conform to standards and expectations that no boy should have to endure, Will is a voice of reason in the film even though his reasoning seems flawed in some respects and then there is John. The quiet kid who marches to his own drum, until forced to toss it aside and become a different creature altogether. Then again, they all 4 became different creatures--just as any child who is repeatedly bullied and abused can.

    For those reasons alone--the touching on the issues and the acting itself, I give it a 9.
  • This movie is one that shows life of teenagers growing up in a troubled society. This movie follows these troubled kids through their teenage years. A truthful representation of what some people go through due to many different reasons or circumstances. The performances by the actors were real and spot on with those times. I would recommend this movie.
  • Four troubled teens, with nothing to do in their empty lives and no one to turn to for guidance, are tormented by all facets of society.

    The film explores a wide variety of situations in high school life, far more than the "school bullying" theme it claims to be about. In fact, the school bullying issue is relatively minor, with the impact of parents playing a bigger role. There is also the drug angle, the idea of conformity, and the legitimacy of school authority. As an outcast myself in high school, I knew that high school authority was not a role model. Despite getting excellent grades, I was not looked highly upon by the administration and was repeatedly suspended and ultimately expelled. Had "troubled" kids done what I had done, they would have been excused.

    While seemingly simple on the surface, I think there is much that can be discussed here. The idea of "blackness" being about culture rather than color I think was an interesting topic. One of the main characters is black, but prefers Willie Nelson over rap. What does it mean to be black? Is Snoop Dogg more black than Denzel Washington? Is President Obama black, despite being raised by a white mother? Willie Nelson was also called out as having lyrics of substance, pushing the idea that anything is possible, and how he was able to express in song what it feels like to go crazy. Whether the Nelson references were meant seriously or jokingly by the creators, I am not sure. But I have to suspect seriously. And while I am not a huge Willie fan, one has to admire his lasting influence on music as a whole. Too few people are aware that some of Elvis Presley's best hits were Willie Nelson songs first. Willie was rock before there was rock.

    The casting was perfect in every way, but especially for Will's dad. He plays the part in a very believable way, and his anger towards his son did not seem like an act but real passionate hatred. The acting gets better in the second half, too, when everything gets dark. I have to give a lot of credit to any actors who are willing to take part in an anal rape scene or a situation involving forced incest. Also, credit to the writers and director for making these things seem real and not comedic.

    The inclusion of the Bill O'Reilly photo confused me, because it added a political element that I think was not necessary. This was not a film about liberals or conservatives, it was more about power and oppression. A principal's authority over students is not guided by his political ideology, and likewise the homophobic, racist tendencies of rednecks need not be seen as a conservative view (though that tends to be the stereotype).

    I would recommend this film. It may be less than perfect due to a low budget, but this was the sort of production where the people in charge knew their limitations and stayed in a safe framework. I could have used fewer F-bombs (the Cory character sets a new record in this film), but that is just me. I would love to see this film remade with a bigger budget and get a better distribution (with all due respect to the guys at Breaking Glass, who are amazing). But, until then, check it out.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    It's painful to watch freshman outings like "Mad World." Most bad movies are just bad all the way through. They have almost no redeeming qualities. That's usually because the filmmakers are just genuinely untalented or --- more often than not --- they just don't care. They're not making the movie to further the art form or to make a statement...they're in and out for the buck and little else.

    It's obvious first time writer-director Cory Caltado has something to say, and even more, the genuine passion to say it and make it (no small feat for anyone). Unfortunately, his story is so excessive and his scripting and directing so uneven, it's tough to buy into any of it.

    I mean, really, in the course of a 100 minute film, kids get loads of verbal and physical abuse hurtled at them from parents, teachers, administrators, and peers. One kid is anally raped, several are beaten bloody, one has an empty gun aimed and fired at his head point-blank in mock execution, and finally a kid's dad leads his drunk mother into his room at night and forces her to have oral sex with him while he does the mom simultaneously. A bit much? Yeah, I thought so too. Look, I'm not saying this abuse doesn't go on but at these levels it's really debilitating to the movie's credibility. All of this in one close circle of friends...and none of them go for help...from anyone. There is one semi-kind set of parents, but that's it.

    This isn't a black comedy, by any means...so all of this excess leads only to distancing the viewer from any sort of realism or identification with the characters. Worse, when the characters do "act out" --- and here the biggest problem is Gary Cairns performance --- they wind up usually ranting diatribes about "the way things should be" so long and so loudly that they end up sounding like whiny, immature idiots.

    Dylan Vigus and Matthew Thompson are much better actors --- Thompson especially excels at the hard emotional scenes, Vigus is better at the bantering defense mechanisms of the terminally under-confident. Thompson has a monologue after being assaulted that really gets to you and makes you understand the hell of bullying and abuse. It's also one of the few pieces in the film where the script allows the characters to breathe and become human. Mostly though, there are a lot of wasted opportunities. Cairns has a fleeting encounter with a cheerleader in a weakened emotional state that could have worked, had it been scripted as a dialog rather than an angry rant by Cairns which immediately segues into an unbelievably playful seduction scene. A lot of the timing in the film is just off or wrong.

    I'm rating this a five because, despite it's myriad problems, there is something important being said or at least TRYING to be said with this picture. And you know what? These days that counts for something.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I thought in the beginning that this was going to be a kind of B-movie. Bad actors, bad filming, bad directing.. but I kept watching because a little voice in my head said "Maybe I should watch a bit more; I am too used to pimped up movies where everything is fancy and neat with perfect language and non-erroneous conversations. Real life isn't scripted." It turns out to be a worthwhile movie, if you can set your used-to-pimped-up-movie-life expectancy a bit aside. I know from experience bad stuff happens to some of young people while nobody defends them, even spit on them further without realizing it or being afraid from social misfitting (and often they don't realize it). So, I think it was a wise choice not to take too famous actors and pimping everything up. I think it's good that not everything is like a script-life, where "f***" and "s***" (literally) comes up. There still is a bit of pimping up though and I don't know if that's good or bad until I would see it otherwise, but well... ****SPOILER ALERT******SPOILER FROM HERE ON**** Unfortunately the story still feels a bit "forced". But the worst part of this movie, I find that there are a bit too many conform-stupid-people (forgive my language inability) and a bit too conform/stupid. They could have gotten the same effect with a bit smarter to even smart people -smart people also suppress things and can be very conformistic- but well it's closer to reality than most of these kind of movies are. I am also glad for a non-happy ending! You know why? Because THIS S*** IS STILL HAPPENING!
  • zachmatchem7 September 2011
    I must give respect to the team for trying something new. I know the film was shot on mini DV, they had commitment issues, and it was very very low budget. The story followed the lives of high school teens who were victims of regular bullying, and the film tried to be true to life. It feels as though a decision was made to throw as much profanity in the film as possible in order to be controversial, but it was just too much for me. Fortunately, Gary Cairns' performance managed to steal my attention away from the vulgarities. He perfectly captured the teen angst of high school students across the country. I look forward to seeing more of his work.